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It’s easy to let psoriasis take your confidence, and that’s me talking from experience. I’ve had a long battle with my confidence throughout my psoriasis journey. Confidence isn’t something that comes to me naturally. I’ve definitely had to work hard on it throughout my years with psoriasis. I mean I have worked hard to get to where I have with my confidence, but me as a person, I’m generally an introvert that has to push myself out of my comfort zone. It takes time for me to be comfortable and confident around certain people. And I do blame psoriasis for this part of my personality.
But I constantly have to remind myself that psoriasis shouldn’t take away my confidence nor should it control me. So here are some of my tips on building my confidence and the things I keep reminding myself to do:
1) Take baby steps
Take your time – there’s no rush, and take it at the speed you want, you’re the driver. The smallest of steps can make the biggest changes in you building your confidence.
2) Set yourself goalsBe realistic. Push yourself to do things outside of your comfort zone, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Even if it is as simple as going to the shops in a short sleeve t-shirt (well I guess this is simple to others, but not so much for people with psoriasis). Don’t say no and don’t let your psoriasis stop you. One of the goals I had set myself when my confidence was really low was to sit outside, in a t-shirt, for half an hour. Once I was confident in doing that, I set myself the goal of being able to sit around in a t-shirt more at home. And your goals can become progressively challenging as confidence starts to build up.
3) Spend some time doing the things you enjoyYou’re most likely to stop thinking about your psoriasis (even if it is for a little while) when you’re doing the things you enjoy. So go swimming, go to the cinemas; meet your friends or whatever it is that makes you happy. Being in a happier place will help you to boost your confidence. I enjoy reading and baking (I’m no expert!) and just generally spending time with friends and family.
4) Spend time with people you enjoy being aroundThis leads on from my previous point. Be around the people that are going to make you feel comfortable and you can let go and have a good laugh with. They’re more likely to send positive vibes your way and that will help in boosting your confidence.
5) Get involved with the psoriasis networkIt’s easier to take those baby steps (tip #1) with people who are going through a similar journey to you. Getting involved with the psoriasis community makes you realise that you’re not alone. Yes, you can talk to your friends and family about your psoriasis. And yes, they’ll empathise with you, and show you their concern and care, but I know they will never truly understand what it means to be living with psoriasis, and the mental struggles it can cause. So making psoriasis friends, even if it is just across the internet does help you to break down that guard.
6) Don't let your psoriasis define youSeparate yourself from your psoriasis. I constantly used to remind myself that my skin didn’t make me who I was. When my psoriasis was at its worst, I found it hard to think of myself as someone without this skin condition. I thought that everyone thought of me as ‘the girl with psoriasis”. But I now know that that is wrong and you have to keep telling your mind that your psoriasis doesn’t define you. There is more to you than your psoriasis. Focus on those aspects that your friends and family love about you.
7) Be open about your psoriasisOpening up about your psoriasis really allows you to let go of the constant stress of hiding this part of your life. Tell people how your psoriasis makes you feel. Remember - you are allowed to feel emotional about it.
8) Embrace your psoriasisI know I always say this in all of my blogs, but it really is the key to gaining your confidence. Wear your psoriasis and scars with pride. There’s more to you than your psoriasis, so let people see that as well. Push yourself to have your psoriasis on show. It will be hard at first, and it’ll definitely be harder for some than it is for others. But you’re more likely to attract more stares and reaction (not always necessarily bad reactions, remember some people are just curious) if you’re always covered up, because people won’t expect you to have a skin condition. Whereas if it’s out in the open, people just get used to it and it no longer becomes ‘a big issue’.
9) Think about your positivesFocus on the positive things in your life, rather than the negatives. Think about the things that are going well for you, and things you may want to achieve and accomplish. Focus your mind on how you can achieve those goals. Focus on the things you’re grateful for in life. What helps me keep focused and motivated is creating a mood board with pictures of the things I would like to achieve in the next five years or so.
10) Wear the clothes you feel comfortable inWear the clothes you want to wear, and embrace the fashion style you want to embrace. This will generally help make you feel more comfortable in your skin, and allowing you to come across more confident and happier. It also forms a distraction from your psoriasis.
UK/IE MAT-15113 Date of Preparation: February 2018
Blog post developed in partnership with LEO Pharma.